The academic study of the Pentateuch appears to be in the throes of a losing battle with the forces of entropy. Once upon a time, there was wide agreement about JEDP. No more. Will Humpty-Dumpty ever be put back together again?
Probably not, but the least one might do is frame the issues in the study of the Pentateuch in such a way that the modes of address and content of the Pentateuch become a matter of burning interest to anyone who occupies herself with (1) the foundations of national and international law; (2) the Scripture-based ethical stances that inform the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the cultures in their debt; and (3) the proper stance a state and those who maneuver the levers of power should take over against a state constitution.
Last but not least, the unique mode of political address which dominates the Pentateuch, a mode of address in which a single principle of justice and truth addresses a polity and creates that polity as it does so, deserves critical attention. This mode of address continues to be productive at the junctures which inform political debate in the 21st century.
A conference in May on the Pentateuch at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is promising in this regard. Here's hoping that the May conference will be as Hume was to Kant, and awake many from their dogmatic slumbers.
For more information, go here: http://ias.huji.ac.il/convergence. I tip my hat in gratitude to Bernard Levinson and the other organizers of this splendid conference.